EirGrid Connacht U20: Roscommon march on
EirGrid Connacht Under 20 Championship
ROSCOMMON 3-10 SLIGO 3-5
By Kevin Egan at Dr Hyde Park
Roscommon will go down in the record books as the first team to win a game in the Connacht under-20 football championship but there will be huge regret in the Sligo camp that they didn’t cause an upset at Dr. Hyde Park, after a horrendous display of shooting in the first half undid a wonderful start.
Red Óg Murphy – one of the youngest players on the field – was the dominant player early on as he fired in two goals, the first a delightfully subtle close range finish in heavy traffic and the second a thunderbolt of a shot from the corner of the area. That left Sligo 2-1 to 0-1 in front after 10 minutes, but they didn’t score again until early in the second half, by which time Roscommon had edged in front.
It wasn’t for the want of chances either - 11 first half wides, another Murphy goal chance that crashed off the foot of the goalpost and a blocked effort from Shane Deignan all came and went, while Roscommon’s forwards slowly worked their way into the game.
Paul Carey, Brian Derwin and Cian McKeon proved their worth as an inside forward line with some nice scores, with ex-senior panellist McKeon adding the finishing touch to a good team move for their first half goal.
Sligo continued to dominate midfield, but in the absence of any scores to show for their efforts, they went in 1-5 to 2-1 adrift.
McKeon added another point before Murphy finally ended their drought in the 35th minute, but Roscommon continued to creep further ahead, with Keith Murphy and Dylan Ruane prominent and involved after coming off the bench.
Brian Derwin and Eddie Nolan set up McKeon’s second goal after 44 minutes and it was only in reply to this that Ciarán O’Dowd fired a point, the first Sligo player other than Murphy to get on the scoresheet. By now Roscommon had gained a more firm foothold in the middle third and while Sligo tried to hang onto their coat-tails and to extend their championship run past this evening, their chances were blown out of the water when Lorcan Daly and Aidan Dowd combined to score a third Roscommon goal.
A quick free saw Barry Gorman fire in a late consolation score for the visitors, but it was too little, too late as the final whistle was sounded immediately, confirming Roscommon’s place in a semi-final clash with Galway at Tuam Stadium next Saturday afternoon.
*Scorers for Roscommon: *Cian McKeon 2-2, David McManus 0-3 (3fs), Aidan Dowd 1-0, Brian Derwin 0-2, Conor Shanagher, Aaron Brady (f) and Paul Carey 0-1 each.
*Scorers for Sligo: *Red Óg Murphy 2-3 (1f), Barry Gorman 1-0, Joe McHugh (f) and Ciarán O’Dowd 0-1 each.
ROSCOMMON: Aaron Brady; Liam Cregg, Evan Flynn, Gerry Galvin; Aidan Dowd, Luke Mollahan, Darren Nerney; Conor Shanagher, Eddie Nolan; Darren Duff, David McManus, Ciarán Lawless; Cian McKeon, Paul Carey, Brian Derwin.
*Subs: *Dylan Ruane for Lawless (19), Keith Murphy for Duff (HT), Lorcan Daly for Galvin (43), Michael Conroy for Nerney (50), Gavan Byrne for McManus (54), Cian Corcoran for Nolan (58).
SLIGO: Daniel Lyons; Evan Lyons, Adrian Cummins, Oisín Conlon; Luke Towey, Mikey Gordon, Sean Murphy; Barry Gorman, Adrian Frain; Ciarán O’Dowd, Conan Marren, Rory McHugh; Red Óg Murphy, Joe McHugh, Shane Deignan.
Subs: Luke Gilmartin for Deignan (34), Rory Ryan for S Murphy (37), Karl McKenna for Cummins (50), Andy Flynn for O’Dowd (50).
REFEREE: Liam Devenney (Mayo).